Adventure, Art, Food

Boston Bay: The Home of Jamaican Jerk

Boston Jerk by Aileen Torres-Bennett

My husband and I like to drive the southern coastal route to Port Antonio, which is on the northeast coast of Jamaica. When the sun is shining throughout the drive–and the sun shines often in JA–the views are eye-popping.

This route takes you through Boston Bay, a hot spot for surfers, as well as the locale touted on and off the island for being the place to eat Jamaican jerk.

Jerk is distinctly Jamaican. There are roadside jerk stops all over the country doing their version of the spicy Jamaican flavor applied to chicken, pork, lamb, and sausage. The spice combo can be overwhelming. I prefer when it hits the palate and gives off a slow burn.

Boston Bay has arguably had better days when it comes to jerk. A local friend of ours said, “It’s not what it used to be.” But it’s still worth a stop. When you drive into town, the touts will greet you, wanting you to come to their stall. They might seem aggressive, but no need to freak. Take your time to walk around the small strip of jerk joints until you find one where you’d like to park yourself. Touts will try to sell you goods, but, hey, that’s part of being a foreigner in Jamaica. If you’re not interested, say no politely, grab a stool, and order what you like. The food is cooked out in the open, under makeshift roofs. It will be served up quickly. Dig in and enjoy the scene.

Illustration by Aileen Torres-Bennett